Nigel Watson is doing a marathon a week during April to raise money for BPC during a personal ‘Beat Prostate Cancer’ year of endurance events. He has already raised over £1,000.

“I was competing in an IronMan triathlon in Wales in October 2018 when I was suddenly taken ill. It turned out to be a viral chest infection, but the paramedics suggested I visited my GP for some blood tests as a general check-up; that was how I ended up having a PSA test.

My test was on a Friday and I was told to expect the results within a week or so, but the following Monday morning, I got a phone call from my doctor inviting me back to discuss the results. My PSA was elevated, at 9.2 and although I have private medical insurance, my GP suggested there was a ‘golden window’ within the NHS and as an urgent cancer referral, I would be quickly seen. I had a transrectal biopsy at my local hospital which showed there were malignant cells.

The grade was 3 plus 3 and the suggestion was, as this was my first test that I wait, then have another assessment in three months’ time. It was agreed that I could carry on racing, which I did, including the London Marathon and represented Great Britain at the European Triathlon Championships. I contacted my doctor for a repeat test in June but was told I wouldn’t be able to have it until November, so at that stage, decided to engage my private healthcare.

I started talking to people, asking for advice. I knew people who had been treated by Mr Doherty and they recommended him highly. I also did a lot of my own research, which I think is important for personal reassurance and is something I always do; when I had laser surgery for my eyes, I spent time researching the best person to carry out the operation.

During my appointment with Mr Doherty, my wife and I immediately knew he was the right person.  I liked the way he included my wife in the discussions and recognised her perspective was very important. I was reassured by his experience, his success and focus on nerve-sparing surgery. A subsequent blood test revealed my PSA had risen to 9.7, so Mr Doherty arranged for me to have another MRI, which revealed a higher Gleason score of 4 plus 3.

I wasn’t scared when I heard I had cancer and I am still not, as I take life’s challenges head on. I was very confident that I would beat it and took the view that it had picked the wrong fight this time. But I didn’t want treatment at any cost, if it was at the expense of possible side-effects. I wasn’t prepared to accept long term incontinence or erectile dysfunction as the price for treatment: quality of life is important, as well as longevity.

It was the reassurance provided by Mr Doherty and his skills in nerve-sparing techniques that changed my mind and convinced me that treatment was the right course of action for both myself and my family.

 

I had my operation at the start of October (2019). From the moment my catheter came out at ten days post-op, I was fully continent, and my sexual function also returned quickly at around six weeks with some medication to support the erectile recovery. I was so relieved to recover in both areas so quickly and extremely grateful for Mr Doherty’s advice and surgical skills.

Mr Doherty had got to know me well enough to hold back my return to exercise for nine weeks after my operation. I got a bit of cabin fever waiting to restart training but followed his instructions. By the time I was allowed to run, I was able to build up distance pretty quickly, with only a little fatigue and aching. Four months after surgery, I got up to 21 miles. My first event post-surgery is the Manchester marathon on April 5 and after that, I’ll be doing a marathon every week throughout April.

Following a busy April, I have a number of other events planned as part of my person ‘Beat Prostate Cancer’ year. This includes a half Ironman in June, followed by running the length of Hadrian’s Wall in one day (70 miles). I will have my youngest son’s wedding to enjoy in July, a further half Ironman in August, followed by the half Marathon de Sables over four days in Fuerteventura in September. I will then end the year’s events by doing the Chicago marathon in October.

I will be, at the age of 63, and after prostate cancer, competing in more endurance events than I have ever run in a single year. It’s my way of putting prostate cancer behind me and I hope it sends out a positive message to others affected by the disease: whatever you enjoy doing in life, you can beat prostate cancer and get back to doing the things you love. Your recovery is as much about your mental approach as your physical one.

Personally, I’ve come out of the experience stronger and I am very grateful that I found the best surgeon and had such a positive recovery. This is why I’m raising money for the Birmingham Prostate Clinic together with the aim of promoting hope and awareness for those living with prostate cancer.”

Within a week of fundraising, Nigel had already reached a total of more than £1,000. The money Nigel raises for the Birmingham Prostate Clinic will be used to fund a new bladder flow rate scanner, enabling more patients to have important assessments closer to their homes.